Stephen Shore ‘Likes’ Instagram


“They can be one-liners, essentially.” – Stephen Shore


Excerpt from “LIVING TODAY: Stephen Shore’s Internal Revolutions”

What has interested me most in the past half-year has been Instagram. For the past couple weeks I’ve been very busy and haven’t posted a lot, but I went for perhaps five months posting almost every day.

Q: What exactly attracts you to that?

One thing is it’s fun. I like the quality of conversation that goes on, where there’s a group of people who I know are looking at my posts every day, or whenever I do it, and I in turn am looking at theirs, eagerly, waiting to see what they post. And it’s a very different kind of communication than what goes on in a book or a gallery, where you just put the work out there and there’s no sense of dialogue.

stephen-shore-american-surfaces-coffee-large (Custom)

from American Surfaces @ Stephen Shore

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from Stephen Shore’s Instagram @ Stephen Shore


Another thing about Instagram, the individual pictures don’t have to be the deepest, most profound photographs; they can be quick observations. They can be one-liners, essentially. And they work completely well in that form. And what it reminds me of is in the 70s, the SX-70 Polaroid camera was very popular for very much the same reasons: that it somehow produced this result that could be like a very quick observation of something, but it was totally satisfying in the form of an SX-70. The pictures were square, and they were unique. There was no negative, so they couldn’t be reproduced. Then some people thought, ‘There’s this freedom with the SX-70, but I wish I could reproduce it more, so I wish I could do it on film,’ and they would get a Hasselblad, which also produces a square picture, and try to do the same picture with a Hasselblad, but it always felt weightier. It never had that light touch. There was just something about the SX-70. And I think it’s very much the same with Instagram. The posts that I see couldn’t really stand alone as works on a gallery wall, but are totally satisfying and intriguing, even, as Instagram posts.


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from Stephen Shore’s Instagram @ Stephen Shore


Q: One of the things that interests me with Instagram is that there are guys like you, there’s Ed Kashi and all these documentary photographers I really admire, on Instagram shooting photos with their iPhones. Essentially, they have the exact same tools I have, and the guy down the street has, and that’s just so empowering to me and the guy down the street.

Yes, I absolutely agree. And aside from the fact that I spent 30 years using an 8 by 10 camera, which was the bulkiest, most expensive camera to use, I still really have been fascinated by common means of communication. So aside from this weird diversion I went on with an 8 by 10, I was doing snapshots before that and postcards, and then in the early 2000s, for like five years, most of the work I did was with these small digital cameras making print-on-demand books. It’s a technology that is totally available to anyone. I kind of like the lack of exclusivity and the freeness of communication.







(All rights reserved. Text @ Living Today. Images @ Stephen Shore.)

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